The director and theatre-maker Mesut Arslan grew up in the Turkish city of Izmir. At the age of twenty he flew to Belgium on his own. After a few years he concentrated on the theatre and set up his own company, the Anatolië Theater Groep (ATG), which was most successful among the Turkish community. He gradually developed a style of his own that evolved towards a visual idiom into which language was incorporated in an experimental way. He regularly collaborated with visual artists, such as Lawrence Malstaf, and this came to characterise his work. For T' Arsenaal/Lazarus in Mechelen he directed IJdele dagen, Fikry El Azzouzi’s first play.
ATG then changed its name to Onderhetvel. With this company he staged an adaptation of Room and the Man by the Flemish author Eric De Volder. In addition, he also set up Platform 0090, a workplace and hub for research into, and the creation and presentation of multidisciplinary art with references to the Midwest.
For his first KVS creation, Mesut Arslan returned to his theatre hero Eric De Volder to tackle Nachtelijk Symposium. He also worked on the production Kamyon, together with Michael De Cock.
When you were a child, what did you want to become?
I’ve always wanted to be a theatre person, ever since I was nine. Before that I also thought I would like to be a doctor and maybe save my mum and dad at the end. But why only mum and dad, why not save everyone, like Superman? I quickly understood that no one can be Superman and maybe you don’t need to be...
Who would be a hero to you now?
I am more of a believer in ordinary people, they are my heroes. ‘Menschen auf der anderen seite’ (‘people from the other side’) who dare to be different and not go with the mainstream. There are many heroes out there, so much beauty.
What does it mean to you to create Nachtelijk Symposium at the KVS?
It’s exciting! The KVS has asked me to create my plays here, and it will be a new encounter. From 2017 I will be looking for myself in my dreams and for my dreams in a Box. The KVS Box is the ideal space for me to dream in.